Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

25 November 2007

I Got Work Done Too; I Promise.

Three movies so far this weekend. (I may get in another one tomorrow, too.) In reverse order of how good they are:

I didn't really understand Sidney Lumet's Before the Devil Knows You're Dead. I mean, I get it; I'm just not sure why I'm supposed to care. Devil is a mess, too, and for lots of reasons. My friend Rick remarked that the movie didn't know if it was a Greek tragedy or some kind of neo-noir. I thought it was going for the former, but the film just doesn't work out that way. It's got all of the elements, too, except for characters that are in any way redemptive or even likable. I lie. I really liked Marisa Tomei, but though she is easily the most interesting thing in the movie, her function in the film is baffling and her presence becomes almost gratuitous. I will give it this, Devil is never really boring. But it's never really interesting either.

I make sure to see Kim Ki-duk's movies when they're released in this country, ever since he made the extraordinary Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter ...and Spring three years ago. Time (Shi Gan) is the thirteenth film from the prolific director and it's fascinating if difficult. The movie is about a woman who is so incredibly jealous of her boyfriend and terrified that he'll fall in love with someone else, leaves him abruptly telling no one where she's going, has plastic surgery to change her face, and then meets him again and gets him to fall in love with her all over again. It sounds really fucked up, and I assure you that it really is. It's a very pretty film, and there are some lovely poetic moments. The thing is, to want to do something like I just described, a woman would have to be totally fucking crazy. The main character in Time is obviously completely nuts. And you know there has to be something wrong with a boy (however cute he is) who is in love with a nutcase like this girl. I found myself muttering "this bitch is so crazy" throughout half the film.
Still, it's very interesting, and the philosophical questions Kim is interested in are baffling, weird conundrums that make you think hard. The questions, eventually, are more interesting than the film, though.

And then there's the Coen Brothers' new movie No Country for Old Men, which I've moved to my top slot for the year. It's a fabulous, violent, at times hysterically funny movie. It has a brilliant central performance by Tommy Lee Jones with some exceptional work all around: Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Kelly Macdonald, Woody Harrelson. I enjoyed the Hell out of it. It's a blast to watch and a total thrill ride. Absolutely not to be missed. I am seeing it again as soon as I can.